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Matthew 16:21-28

  • Some truths are easy to understand but hard to live out.
  • “From then on Jesus began to tell His disciples plainly that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, and that He would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law.
  • He would be killed, but on the third day He would be raised from the dead.” (Matthew 16:21)
  • Following Jesus is not an easy endeavor and your faith will be tested all along the way.
  • Jesus – “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
  • Following Jesus requires making some difficult decisions and committing to a challenging calling.
  • Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26-28)
  • What decisions do we need to make if we want to follow Jesus?

If You Want To Follow Jesus You Must:

  • “Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from Me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” (Matthew 16:23)
  • We spend too much time trying to convince others that we know what we are doing, and not enough time accepting the truth that God knows what He is doing.
  • My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8)
  • Real followers trust the Lord and have concluded that God’s plan is beyond their understanding.
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If You Want To Follow Jesus You Must:

  • “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)
  • When you give up your own way and take up your cross you submit yourself to God’s process of transforming the way you think, the way you feel, the way you speak, and the way you act.
  • Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
  • The growth of a disciple is measured by how much they have changed.

If You Want To Follow Jesus You Must:

  • Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)
  • Christ can’t fully live within you until you have sacrificed yourself, your will, and your way.
  • Paul – “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
  • The world teaches that Birth proceeds Death, but the Holy Scripture teaches that Death proceeds Birth.
  • This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
  • The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • When were you spiritually born and when did your new life in Christ begin?

If You Want To Follow Jesus You Must:

  • Jesus – “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” (Matthew 16:25)
  • It is foolish and short lived to make any decisions without first considering the costs, consequences, and implications of the choices we make.
  • ‘But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’” (Luke 14:28-30)
  • What does it cost a person to truly follow Jesus?

If You Want To Follow Jesus You Must:

  • Not everyone who counts the cost is willing to pay the price.
  • Jesus – “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
  • The worth you gain from following Christ is far more valuable than any price that you are asked to pay.
  • Paul – “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ…” (Philippians 3:7-8)
  • Something is worth what anyone else is willing to pay for it
  • God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
  • Real followers of Jesus make the commitment to never look back.
  • But Jesus told him, ‘Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:62)
  • Once you’ve been exposed to the ways of Christ you know that nothing else would fulfill you.
  • At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, ‘Are you also going to leave?’ Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6:66-68)


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FIRST STEPS is the membership course for Celebration Church. This four-week course is designed to help the participant understand his first steps at Celebration Church, all the while setting him up for his next steps of growth and service.

  • Introduces Salvation, Baptism and Christian Growth.
  • History and Vision of Celebration
  • Promotes Worship Service Attendance and Church Involvement
  • Introduces Celebration Statement of Beliefs
  • Launches Participants into Life Group
  • Introduces Celebration Serve Team Categories
  • Launches Participants into Serve Teams
  • Introduces Celebration Church Values and Spiritual Freedom
  • Reviews Membership Expectations
  • Launches Participants towards NEXT STEPS and DISCIPLESHIP PATHWAYS

The FIRST STEPS course takes place on four consecutive weeks

(Lesson One = Week One, Lesson Two = Week Two…). If someone misses a week one month, they can return the following month and make it up. Although people can start at any point, the flow of the course works better if they begin on Week one.


Celebration Family and Guests,

Welcome to Celebration Church – where God is met, Love is felt, and Lives are changed. In today’s Worship Service we are concluding our THERE IS HOPE sermon series. In this series we’ve learned from the actions and words of Jesus found in Mattew chapters 12, 14, 15 and 16 how to find hope and bring help to today’s world. Our Pastors and I have received many reports of people being greatly encouraged and helped by these THERE IS HOPE Sermons. To review the sermons from the past weeks, go to your Campus Social Media pages or go to YouTube.

Next Sunday is BRING A FRIEND Sunday at Celebration. On that day we want all of our children, teens and adults to bring friends with you to our Sunday services. On that day we will have special activities for children and teens, and we will begin a new sermon series titled, THE NEXT LEVEL. I’m sure that you have work friends, social friends, long time friends or even crazy friends that you would like to see experience the healing and transforming power of Jesus in their lives. Think about those friends. Pray for them. And then invite them to come with you next Sunday. You may want to send them a text or social media message like the one below.

  • Hey, August 21 is BRING A FRIEND Sunday at Celebration Church, and since you’re one of my best friends, I want you to come with me. I believe you will enjoy the service, and our Pastor is beginning a new series titled, THE NEXT LEVEL. It would encourage me greatly if you came with me, and I believe you will be encouraged by attending. Message me back and let me know if you can come with me.

The Lord wants to use your witness to help your friends experience the transforming power of Jesus in their lives, circumstances and relationship. So be sure to reach out to them this week in some kind of way, asking them to come with you on BRING A FRIEND Sunday.

Two weeks ago we had Life Group Connection Sunday at Celebration. That’s when we encouraged all of our people to sign up to join a Life Group so they can develop some great Christian friends and experience more spiritual growth. Life Groups are small groups that meet in homes, coffee shops, business places, schools or online to study the Bible. In Life Groups people grow in their faith and knowledge of God’s Word, develop strong Christian friendships, learn how to live out the principles of the Christian life, and they get involved in ministry with others. Life Groups are where real Christian community and life transformation takes place, which is why we want all of our Worship Service attendees to be involved in a Life Group.

At Celebration we have Life Groups for teens, college students, single adults, married adults, senior adults and men and women. Some Groups meet exclusively in person while some meet exclusively Online, and others are hybrid groups with people meeting both in-person and online. You can learn more about Life Groups by going to

Two weeks from now (August 28) we will be participating in Communion together in our Worship Services. Be sure to join us for that special time of remembering you Jesus is to us and what He’s done for us, and that time of renewing our commitment to live for Him.

If you want to Make A Decision, share Prayer Requests with us or Give to support God’s work through Celebration Church, you can do so right here on our Digital Worship Guide. Lives are being changed, marriages are being reconciled, families are being restored and people are experiencing the transforming power of Jesus as a result of your support of our Church’s ministry through your prayers, service and giving.

Dennis Watson

Lead Pastor, Celebration Church


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Kidztown Children’s Ministry is all about partnering with parents to disciple the children who attend our church. Our Uptown ministry targets 1st through 4th Grade students, and our Downtown ministry is aimed at Birth to Kindergarten students. Each ministry area is a safe, secure and nurturing educational environment with our leaders and trained volunteers.

The Children’s Ministry of Celebration Church has a three-fold life purpose for every child, which is no different than the purpose for an adult’s life!

We want children to:

• Learn about Jesus
• Live for Jesus
• Let others know about Jesus

Our three-fold life purpose is designed to be experienced by our babies and toddlers just as much as it can be experienced by our elementary students. We want our babies to feel the love of Jesus the minute they come through our doorway.
As songs are sung and stories are read, children will understand that they are special in God’s Kingdom and will begin to open up their hearts and minds to receive the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. Our goal is for every child to become fully devoted followers of Christ, by asking Jesus to be their forever friend!

It is our privilege to partner with parents, grandparents and other significant adults in a child’s life as we embark on this journey together. The precious children that have been entrusted to our loving care are a treasure to us as well. We believe there is no greater call that to make a difference in the life of a child.

Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

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Midpoint is a ministry just for 5th through 7th graders. Because we know that kids at this age are trying to figure out whether they are children or pre-teens, our Midpoint leaders work hard to create a “cool” atmosphere in the context of a very safe and protected environment. Their leaders and pastors teach them an age-appropriate message and then the young people are challenged to talk through how to apply those biblical principles to their lives in small group discussions.

Midpoint meets during all weekend worship services. Students join their parents for the music portion of the service and then are dismissed during the video announcements where leaders take them to their designated ministry area. Midpoint also has periodic outreach events, parties, field trips, games, crafts and other fun experiences centered around 5th through 7th graders.

Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

The Social Youth Ministry is designed so our teenagers (8th-12th grade) can meet weekly for a fun, exciting, and relevant youth service that focuses on challenging teenagers in their daily lives. This service is planned with the intention of encouraging, motivating, and inspiring young people to overcome the challenges they face in life and to make a difference in the world they live in through Jesus Christ! All of our youth services are relevant to the searching teen, understandable to the new believer, and challenging for the mature believer. Throughout the week youth meet in small groups called Life Groups. Life Groups provide a community experience where teens can share what is happening in their lives and hold each other accountable for following the Bible lessons learned in their weekly Wednesday night service. Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.



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